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FAMU seeks to increase awareness for walkup vaccination site

Posted at 6:56 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 18:58:36-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Health leaders are turning their focus from getting vaccine doses to getting people to show up to the Florida A&M University walk-up clinic.

The launch of the Al Lawson Center walk-up was not widely communicated because FAMU said they wanted to make sure that minorities and people in under-served parts of Leon County received first access to the vaccine. Now two days in, the site is far from reaching its 200 vaccines a day goal.

On the first day, 65 people were vaccinated. On Friday, Alease Williams was one of the only 67 to get a vaccine

"I'm thankful to FAMU for doing this. It was easy and quick," said Alease Williams. "The people were very nice and I just feel better knowing that we have a FAMU that's willing to do this for the people of our community.

People like Ephram Bowen said he didn't know getting vaccinated here was an option.

"The problem is, get the communication out. I just heard of it yesterday and I thought it would be overwhelmed," said Bowen.

Student Health Services Director Tanya Tatum said they are now working to change that. The first start is extending the site's hours from 9 am - 12 pm to 9 am - 1 pm. Next comes communication.

"We are planning more targeted outreach into the area and into the Southside community and to some of the area churches so we've got a number of things in place that we're going to start rolling out," said Tatum. "I think we're going to start seeing our numbers increase very shortly."

Tatum said they're also going to educate people more about the facts they need about the vaccine.

"There's still confusion in the community over who can get vaccines and we're still with the guidelines that the governor's put out," said Tatum. "We're vaccinating healthcare workers with direct patient contact and we're vaccinating individuals who are 65 and older."

The goal is to help more people like Williams.

"I'm 70 years old and I've had a hard time trying to get it different places because I don't know how to use the internet that well so my sister brought me today," said Williams. "I feel more confident now that I got it."

While giving people like Ephram the confidence to encourage others to get vaccinated.

"Get the shot," said Bowen. "Save lives."

This site is one of six the state opened across the state. All are able to give 200 doses a day for the first month. Next month, that number is expected to double so people can receive their second doses. The site is open Monday through Sunday.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering